Study shows how badly coronavirus is hurting Ohio nonprofits


A joint survey from Ohio State University, the Ohio Attorney General's Office and Philanthropy Ohio has found that, like for-profit businesses, many of the state's nonprofit organizations have been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The survey was taken from leaders in 7,723 organizations spread across Ohio, which is about 19 percent of all of Ohio’s nonprofits. According to the survey, most of the respondents were medium-sized organizations, with the largest number dealing with arts and culture, education and human services.

More than a quarter of the nonprofits said that they had to stop delivering their normal programs or services entirely, while a full half were only offering services at a reduced capacity.

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Some of these organizations offer arts services that can’t be offered in their normal way during the pandemic, but many other organizations have also closed or reduced their activities.

One example used in the survey came from an animal shelter in Southwest Ohio, where one organization leader wrote, “We are an all-volunteer animal shelter and have stopped taking in animals because we cannot raise funds to take care of them.”

Only 10 percent of the non-profits said that they were still offering the same services as usual.

Another eight percent, though, said that they saw an increase in demand for their services. These include organizations that deal with health and human services as well as other sectors.

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However, among these organizations, some still expressed concerns.

One central Ohio organization that offers after-school programming said it expected an increase in youth served, but a decrease in government funding.

The organization leader also expressed concern for youths stuck at home, writing, “We are a safe spot, a home away from home, and trauma informed programming will be necessary upon return.”

Other nonprofit organizations that may have higher demand include many Ohio hospitals.

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The survey also asked the non-profits what they were doing to help deal with the crisis. These actions included things like conducting board meetings virtually, restricting travel, cutting administrative expenses and applying for grants.

Finally, the survey asked about the concerns that nonprofits had, with loss of revenue topping the list, followed by worries over disruptions in services and a decline in donations. A quarter of the organizations said they were very concerned they would have to shut down indefinitely, with another 29 percent being “somewhat concerned” they would need to, as well.